Word of the day


Handsel –  gift to express goodwill at start of new year or enterprise; a first insallment or payment;  inaugural gift; a speciman or foretaste of what’s to come.

Friday’s answers


Thursday’s questions were:

1. Where did you used to go for summer holidays when you were a child?

2. Where do you go now?

3. Name three things you wouldn’t choose to holiday without.

4. Where would you suggest tourists eat if visiting your home  town/region?

5.  If you could choose any time of year to have a holiday when would it be?

There were no wrong answers so Zen, Ray & Adam  win a bag of electronic cherries and Zen gets a bonus for going the extra mile in answering before the questions were posed.

My answers:

1. My family used to stay home and take picnics to the river (Gemmell’s Crossing or Clifton Falls) when I was at primary school, when I got to intermediate I started going to Wanaka with my best friend.

2. Home and Wanaka.

3. My farmer, lots of books, a clean loo.

4. Fleur’s Place and Riverstone Kitchen.

5.  February if holidaying in New Zealand, any time from late May to late August if going overseas.

Charlie Gibson 19.8.55 – 23.12.10


One of the people who gave a eulogy at Charlie Gibson’s funeral yesterday noted how appropriate it was that the photo on the order of service showed him with his sleeves rolled up.

That was how she remembered him literally and figuratively ready to get stuck in.

Another of those delivering a tribute to Charlie said four f words were important to him – family, friends, farming and fun.

He always wanted to be a farmer but his father made him do an apprenticeship when he left school. Charlie completed that then returned home to the land he loved.

From the start Charlie was active in the community – holding offices in Young Farmers, serving on the hall, water scheme, home and school and swimming club committees. His wasn’t just token memberhsip. If there was something to be done Charlie was rolling up his sleeves to do it – from helping to build an adventure playground to deputising for Father Christmas at the break up.

Some time after the news that Charlie had terminal cancer had made its way round the grapevine I came upon him taking sheep down the road. We rolled down our windows and he asked me how I was. I said I was fine and did he want me to ask the same of him?

He replied with his trademark grin and said, “I’m great, every day is a blessing.”

We called on him 12 days ago. He was in bed but still grinning, open about his future and at peace with it.

He leaves a wife, daughter, wider family and many friends who will miss him and he leaves a big hole in our neighbourhood.

Kitchen Dame’s well deserved honour


There would be very few kitchens in the country which doesn’t have at least one of Alison Holst’s recipe books.

She is now a Dame in well deserved recognition to her services to the food industry and charity.

Her honour citation describes her as ”one of New Zealand’s best-known food experts”.

She is also being honoured for her charity work, having raised more than $4 million for schools, churches, Plunket groups, kindergartens and playcentres, mostly through cooking demonstrations which have drawn crowds of up to 700 people.

Since she published her first cookery book in 1966, more than four million copies of her books have been sold.

She has continued to encourage young parents to cook ”healthy and reasonably-priced family meals” and still advocates for ”strong family values through a shared appreciation of food”, the citation says.

”She has been a positive role model to New Zealand families for more than 40 years,” it says.

If there are few kitchens in New Zealand without an Alison Holst recipe book I doubt there’s any farms without a Gallagher fence. The company’s principal, Bill Gallagher, receives a knighthood for services to business.

Others in the New Years Honours List are high country advocate, business woman and philanthropist Christine Fernyhough for services to the community and former Director General of Agriculture Murray Sherwin who both get a CNZM.

Michael Hill receives a knighthood for services to business and the arts.

Dr Keith Maslen, who tutored me at Otago, receives an ONZM for services to literature and bibliography.

One of the more controversial recipeints is Garth George who has been awarded a MNZM for services to journalism.

Tough love needed for tough cases


If parents don’t equip their children to do their children to do their best and prepare them for independence, even if it needs a bit of tough love at times, they fail them.

Yet when a political party suggests measures to encourage people off benefits so they can be independent they’re accused of beneficiary bashing.

A relatively few people have physical, mental or intellectual disabilities which prevent them from ever being independent and few begrudge them state support.

Most other people who require benefits do so only temporarily due to circumstances beyond their control. Once they get over the problem they are able to support themselves again.

Some of the rest need help to become job ready. That isn’t usually either cheap or easy but it’s better in the long run for them and society as a whole than letting them languish on benefits.

With a few the problem isn’t that they can’t work, it’s that they won’t. They’re the tough cases and they need tough love.

If the state doesn’t all it can to help those who need it to be independent, which might require both carrot and stick,  it is failing not only them but the taxpayers who have to support them.

December 31 in history


On December 31:

400  Vandals, Alans and Suebians crossed the Rhine, beginning an invasion of Gaul.

1229  James I of Aragon the Conqueror entered Medina Mayurqa (now known as Palma) consummating the Christian conquest of the island of Majorca.

1491 – Jacques Cartier, French explorer, was born (d. 1557)

1599  The British East India Company was chartered.

The Company flag, after 1707

1687– The first Huguenots set sail from France to the Cape of Good Hope.

1695 A window tax was imposed in England, causing many shopkeepers to brick up their windows to avoid the tax.

1720 Charles Edward Stuart, pretender to the British throne, was born  (d. 1788).

1759 Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and started brewing Guinness.

1853 Sir George Grey left New Zealand after finishing hisfirst  term as Governor.

Grey leaves NZ after first term as Governor
1857 Queen Victoria chose Ottawa, as the capital of Canada.
1869 Henri Matisse, French painter, was born (d. 1954).
1878  Elizabeth Arden, Canadian businesswoman, was born (d. 1966).

1879 Thomas Edison demonstrated incandescent lighting to the public for the first time.

1904 The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in Times Square (then known as Longacre Square) in New York.

1908  Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian Holocaust survivor, was born (d. 2005).

1909  Manhattan Bridge opened.

1923 The chimes of Big Ben were broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC.

1937 Sir Anthony Hopkins, Welsh actor, was born.

1941 – Sir Alex Ferguson, Scottish football manager, was born.

Sir Alex Ferguson

1943 John Denver, American singer and songwriter, was born (d. 1997).

1943 Sir Ben Kingsley, English actor was born.

1943  Pete Quaife, English bassist (The Kinks) was born.

Four smiling young men leaning over the back of a green park bench, a row of three-story-tall residential buildings behind them. The man on the left wears a brown sports jacket and white turtleneck; the man to his right wears a black-and-white-striped pullover shirt; the man to his right (standing straighter, just behind the other three) wears a black suit and tie; the man on the far right wears a black sports jacket and white shirt.Original lineup in 1965. From left: Pete Quaife, Dave Davies, Ray Davies, Mick Avory.

1946 President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.

1951 The Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $13.3 billion USD in foreign aid to rebuild Europe.

1955  The General Motors Corporation became the first U.S. corporation to make over $1 billion USD in a year.

General Motors.svg

1960 The farthing coin ceased to be legal tender in the United Kingdom.

1963  The Central African Federation officially collapsed and split into Zambia, Malawi and Rhodesia.

1965  Nicholas Sparks, American author, was born.

1980 – Richie McCaw, All Black captain, was born.

Richie McCaw

1983 – The AT&T Bell System was broken up by the United States Government.

1991  All official Soviet Union institutions ceased operations by this date and the Soviet Union was officially dissolved.

1992 Czechoslovakia was dissolved, resulting in the creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.








1998  The European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the values of the legacy currencies in the Eurozone, and established the value of the euro currency.





1999  Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia, leaving Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as the acting President.

1999 – The United States Government handed control of the Panama Canal (as well all the adjacent land to the canal known as the Panama Canal Zone) to Panama. This act complied with the signing of the 1977 Torrijos-Carter Treaties.

2004  The official opening of Taipei 101, the tallest skyscraper at that time in the world, standing at a height of 509 metres (1,670 ft).


2007 –  Bocaue Fire: Seven people were injured when a fire resulted in the explosion of several fireworks stores in Bocaue, Bulacan, Philippines.

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

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